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Privacy on WhatsApp: how to safeguard your account

30/08/2016

What about privacy on WhatsApp? What about the small print that we usually fail to read? What conditions do we accept when we begin to use WhatsApp? Do you want to know more about WhatsApp’s privacy settings on your iPhone or Android?

Do you use WhatsApp and worry about your personal information’s safety? I can’t blame you. That’s one the most controversial topics on the net. Here, we will shed light on the most important thing about WhatsApp privacy issues and we will explain clearly how to maximize the security level to keep it away from prying eyes. Eventually, we will have a look at Privacy Policy and terms of use, the small print that we usually fail to read and which contains all conditions we accept when we use WhatsApp with our phone number.

Regardless of Android, iPhone or Windows mobile, WhatsApp controls the privacy – or all rules that safeguard personal information – for half and half is done by users; the latter have to prevent the undesirable personal data sharing while WhatsApp’s developers increased the security level with the “end-to-end encryption”.

The encryption of end-to-end messages

In November 2014, WhatsApp took an important step in privacy by introducing end-to-end encryption that makes messages viewable only to senders and recipients; neither WhatsApp’s developers nor investigating judges can see the information shared by users. The messages, in fact, are encrypted by a security code only available to those who create and receive the message. This system has been tested by WhatsApp engineers in collaboration with the Open Whisper Systems, a company specializing in private communications systems.

WhatsApp privacy policy 2016

The WhatsApp Privacy Policy recently underwent some updates that users should be aware of. These changes are in effect as of August 25, 2016. The following are some of the more important aspects of the privacy policy changes.

  • WhatsApp has confirmed that they share some user information with Facebook to create advertising campaigns that are user specific. This information on users’ behavior is also shared with other social media platforms like Instagram.
  • WhatsApp also confirmed that they can see the “last seen” as well as other contact information of registered users.
  • There are some new ways to use WhatsApp including being able to buy airline tickets and have access to flight information and notices for online orders. WhatsApp plans on encouraging businesses to use the app as a marketing tool.
  • They have no plans of inserting banner ads within the app as they have found this to annoy users of other apps.
  • Users have the ability to disable the sharing of their information with other apps through the WhatsApp settings.

WhatsApp privacy guard: 8 ways to protect our chats

 

WhatsApp-lockWhatsApp’s chats are no longer just simple texts. We all know that we share photos, videos, bank account details, contacts and more. This provides a flow of information coveted by thousands of hackers worldwide. Defending yourself is important, and not only from the most sophisticated scams, but also from the prying eyes of supposed friends. The software house ESET – specialized in Internet security and antivirus – has provided a number of tips to increase the security levels of personal chats.

 

Yet despite the encryption system messages, in fact, the security on the web is never enough.

Here are the privacy settings and 8 key factors of WhatsApp security:

1) Lock WhatsApp 

One the best things you can do to safeguard your privacy on WhatsApp is to lock the app with a password or PIN. WhatsApp does not offer this feature itself, but there are third-party applications that do it. It might seem overwhelming, but if you lose your phone, for example, it will prevent others having access to your chats. LockDown Pro is the solution for those who want to block WhatsApp on iPhone. The app is not free, but it is the only one that really works on iOS (do not be fooled by other applications that state they do it and then will not work properly). Instead, for Android devices, the solution to the problem is WhatsApp Lock. The application, created by BunnyLabs specifically for WhatsApp, is free.

2) How to stop WhatsApp from saving photos on the camera roll 

One can legitimately assume that our conversations may occasionally be strictly in confidence. Especially when we share images, the last thing you want is to find them among the photos of the camera roll where they accidentally can be shown to prying eyes.

On the iPhone, the issue is easy to fix: just go to the Settings menu, click on Privacy>Photos and uncheck it from the list of authorized applications to save images in the photostream.

Android users will have to sweat a bit more. To delete photos from the camera roll you must use a file explorer app such as ES File Explorer and find the folder WhatsApp “Pictures” and “Video”. At this point, create a file inside both folders called ‘.nomedia’.

This will prevent Android’s gallery from scanning the folders.

3) Hide WhatsApp last seen on WhatsApp

Not sure if you want people to know when you’re online? It doesn’t seem like vital information, but for an ill-intentioned person could be worth a lot. Besides, you may not want your friends or fiancée to know when you’re last seen. To avoid this, go to Settings>Profile>Account>Privacy and set your last seen to “Nobody”. This works on iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry.

P.S. If you disable this option you will still be able to see the last access of other users.

4) Restrict access to your WhatsApp profile picture

Have you ever thought that your profile picture can be downloaded and used by anyone? Well, yes, it is in fact a public picture. However, you can restrict the access to only your friends. To do so, change the “Everyone“ option to “My contacts” in the privacy menu.

5) Beware of scams

WhatsApp never comes into contact with the user through the application. Also, WhatsApp does not send messages via chat, voice messages, requests for payment, changes to photos or videos, unless you contact technical support by yourself. Anything that provides a service, free or paid, it is definitely a scam. You’d better keep your eyes open to avoid scams.

6) Turn off WhatsApp if you lose your phone.

WhatsApp offers users safety advice to maintain control of their account if their phone is lost or stolen. In addition to blocking the SIM card via your provider, WhatsApp advises you to immediately activate WhatsApp with the same phone number on a different phone with a new SIM. The app, in fact, can only be used by a device at a time. In doing so, therefore, you will block WhatsApp on the other phone. If you cannot do it for some reason, you can always disable the account from Settings> Delete account.

7) Be careful what you talk about

Last but not least, use the same common sense that you should have with any form of digital communication. Do not send personal information – addresses, phone numbers, email addresses – or bank account information, credit card, passport and so on. The method to steal conversations on WhatsApp is available to everyone, and the ill-intentioned people are always lurking.

8) Remember to log out of Web WhatsApp

WhatsApp launched the web service to send and receive messages directly from PC. However, most users are unaware of the fact that you should always logout of WhatsApp Web from Google Chrome. Try to imagine your colleagues who read your chat on a big screen while you’re out for a coffee break.

P.S. To further increase the level of security, we recommend you read how easy it is for anyone to spy on the conversations of another user. Remember, know the enemy to know how to defend themselves. Know the enemy to protect yourself!

Terms of use and privacy policy… what you really need to know

 Comic-book-WhatsApp-Question copia

It is very common that the terms and conditions of use go unnoticed for any app. Most users click on “I accept these Terms of Use and Privacy Policy” without even reading them (because you must accept them to use the app).

We’re talking about those clauses written in small print that we find in each digital product.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Conditions can change anytime.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to use WhatsApp or get parents’ permission.
  • You cannot use the app in a country under US embargo, nor in any country that supports terrorists (WhatsApp is not with terrorists).
  • WhatsApp does not assume any liability for the content, privacy, and the actions of third-party websites. So if you click on a link that contains a virus, you are solely responsible for the consequences.
  • It is not allowed to reverse engineer and alter or modify any part of the service. This was the reason why WhatsApp Plus was blocked.
  • Anyone can view the status for which you are responsible, and you cannot include information protected by copyright.
  • The app has the right to periodically access your contact list to locate new numbers to send and receive messages with them.
  • WhatsApp has outlawed spam.
  • You can delete your account at any time.
  • Finally, as suggested by WhatsApp, if you do not agree with these conditions, you can always decide not to use the app. 🙂




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